Vaishampayana said, “Janamejaya! Pandavas dispatched the Purohit to Hastinapura and sent their messengers to various kingdoms.
After sending messengers to various places, Kurukula nandan Kunti putra, the exemplary Dhananjaya departed to Dwarka himself.
When Madhukula nandan Lord Krishna and Balabhadra left along with a large army of Vrshni, Andhak and Bhojavamshi Yadavas for Dwarka, then Dhrutharashtra’s son, King Duryodhana elicited information about the efforts of the Pandavas through the spies that he had put in place.
When Duryodhana heard that Lord Krishna had left Virat and was heading back to Dwarka, then he left immediately to Dwarka on a magnificent horse that travelled as fast as the wind with a small army.
Kunti kumara Pandu nandan, Arjuna also left quickly on the same day to the beauteous Dwarka.
The two great warriors who are the pride and joy of Kuru vamsha reached Dwarka to find Lord Krishna resting. The two of them approached the sleeping Lord.
Duryodhana entered the bhavan during the resting time of Lord Krishna first and sat on a magnificent seat/throne placed near His headrest.
Then Arjuna, the warrior par excellence adorning a crown entered the sleeping quarters of Lord Krishna. With all humility and folded hands stood near the Lotus Feet of Lord Krishna.
Upon awakening, Vrshni kula bhushan, Lord Krishna saw Arjuna first. Madhusudhan performed His devoir accordingly towards both of them and made kind enquiries for their visit. Then Duryodhana laughingly answered Lord Krishna –
“Madhava! I request Your help in the impending war against the Pandavas. You have a friendship of equanimity with both me and Arjuna and we have an equal attachment and bond with You, O Madhusudhan! Today, I have only come first to see You. An exemplary man who observes the pursuance of ethics as laid down by the ancestors offers help to the visitor who arrives first. Janardhana! You are at this moment the greatest and most exalted amongst Satpurushas in this universe and everyone views You unceasingly with respect and honour. Therefore, please abide by the conduct of Satpurushas.”
Lord Krishna said, “Hey King! There is no doubt that you arrived first to see Me but I saw Kunti nandan, Arjuna first.
Suyodhana! You arrived first and I saw Arjuna first. Therefore, I offer to help the both of you.
The decree of the scriptures is to first give the boy his desired wish and hence, as Kunti putra Arjuna is the younger of the two in terms of age, it is only proper that he is given what he wants first.
I have a mighty army of ten crore who are all like Me of strong physical strength. All of them are named “Narayana”. All of them are capable of wielding the weapons with masterful grace, skill and precision.
The other thing is that the soldiers who are difficult to assault are always eager to do battle and on the other side I am all alone. But I will neither fight nor will I wield any weapons.
Arjuna! Choose any one among these two; whichever is more dear and appealing to your mind; you choose first because it is appropriate as per dharma that you choose what you want first.”
Vaishampayana said, “Hey King! On hearing Lord Krishna’s words, Kunti kumara, Dhananjaya chose the one who will not fight in the battlefield namely Bhagawan Shree Krishna who is sakshat shatruhanta Narayana – Absolute One who will not be harmed by enemies or opponents and in spite of being birthless is born out of His own free will as a man in the midst of devathas, danavas and kshatriyas.
Janamejaya! Then Duryodhana asked for the whole army that comprises of thousands of soldiers grouped into thousands of smaller armies. King Duryodhana was mighty pleased with himself after receiving the great warriors and the army thinking that he had managed to beguile Lord Krishna. His strength was fearsome. Duryodhana took the entire army and left to meet the powerful Rohini nandan, Balarama elaborating on the reason for his visit. Hearing thus, Shoora vamshi Balarama replied to Duryodhana, son of Dhrutharashtra –
Balarama said, “Purusha simha! Firstly, you would have already gathered what I spoke on the joyous wedding festivities at the court of King Virat.
Kurunandan! For your sake, I tried to remind Shree Krishna that we are obligated to remain neutral as we have an equal relationship with both sides. Hey King! I expressed that point repeatedly but Shree Krishna did not take notice and remained unmoved and I cannot leave Shree Krishna even for a moment.
Therefore, looking at Shree Krishna, I decided that I will neither help Arjuna nor Duryodhana.
Purusha ratna! You have been born to the great honourable lineage of kings of Bharata vamsha. Go and adhere to the kshatriya dharma.”
Vaishampayana said, “Janamejaya! On hearing the words of Balabhadra, Duryodhana embraced Him and thinking that he had deceived Lord Krishna convinced himself of a decisive victory in his favour in the impending war.
Then, Duryodhana, son of Dhrutharashtra went to meet Kritavarma. Kritavarma gave him one akshauhini.
Kurunandan Duryodhana returned to Hastinapura very pleased with the fearsome armies received who will bring joy to his well-wishers and friends.
After Duryodhana departed, Lord Krishna, Pithambaradhaari Jagatsrasta Janaradhana asked Arjuna, “Parth! I told you that I will not participate in the battle, then on what basis did you still choose Me?”
Arjuna replied, “Bhagawan! You alone are capable of destroying each and every one of them and there is no doubt in that. Purushottama! With Your Blessings, I can also take on all my enemies single-handedly and destroy them all.
But Your glory is unsurpassed in this universe. Wherever You are, that glory is in pursuance of Yours. I also seek glory and hence, I have chosen You.
I have been harbouring a desire in my heart from many days that You should become my charioteer. I wish to submit the actions, inactions and duties of my body and life in Your hands. I pray that You will satisfy this desire that I have had forever.”
Vasudeva said, “Parth! You have placed your faith in Me to help you in your war against your enemies and this is the right path for you. I will be your charioteer. I will fulfill your heartfelt desire.”
Vaishampayana said, “Janamejaya! Arjuna was happy that his wish was fulfilled and after accepting Dasharvamshi Yadavas, he returned to Yudhishtira.”
[Senyodyoga Parva – Lord Krishna offering help to both Duryodhana and Arjuna – Chapter 7 of Udyoga Parva – Slokas 1 – 39]